Who’s your role model for exceptional work life balance?

We grow up, get educated, move out, get a real job, pay bills and eventually get big ticket items like a mortgage. As we get raises, we simply buy more and bigger things, never getting ahead. Just owning a bigger rat (race).

No wonder I could never answer this question, “Who’s your role model for exceptional work life balance?” Truth was, no one. Sad.

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. Jeff,

    You are right – not a lot of them out there. I was talking to a friend before who happens to be a Christian counselor. Sometimes he struggles to separate conversation from counseling (LOL). But one time he said when talking about my work-life balance, “Bob, you know, you are repeating your father’s steps. You may not be doing the same kind of work, but the work has the same kind of stress on you.” My father was my role model for it, but like Charles Barkley, I don’t think he intentionally signed up for the “role model” job or hoped I would be that way.

    Don’t get me wrong – my father is a good role model. When it came to work, my dad did everything he could to provide for us 4 boys. But what did that mean? I failed to have the “life” part of the “work-life balance” with him because he was always too busy working. Now it can be a struggle for him to relate to us and vice versa. I don’t want to be that way with my boys. So I fight it every day to get that balance – to be an active part of my sons’ and wife’s lives. As my friend said, I have to blaze my own trail to change the cycle of repreating that behavior and starting a new cycle that will serve my son with their children much better.


  2. Bob, it is a blessing you see the need for a change. Many father figures that I know follow unquestioning in their father’s footsteps. Some say, “This worked for my dad…” It’s quite frightening actually.

  3. Bob, love, absolutely love your honest assessment and candor. And then there’s your passionate desire for a different path.

    Brave. Inspiring.

    These are the attributes that drive change that’s transformational.

    Of course, there’s always the risk well come up short.

    But the odds of trying and failing are much better than simply accepting defeat.

  4. Jeff and Patty,

    I so appreciate your encouragement. Trust me – every day has has its own battles, but it is one I choose to take up. As I told my 14-year-old the other day…”I am in new territory every day with you. I have never raised a teenager before. I haven’t done any of this before, and I know Pappy (what he calls my father) wasn’t much in giving me clues during my teenage years on how it could be done well. So I am “all in” in trying to do it well. I will mess up, but won’t it be fun trying to get it right!” He smiled.


    P.S. It was very emotional yesterday – I sent him off to Panama City, FL, with his middle school group at church on his first experience on a mission trip to help do repairs/construction work on a church there. Before he left, he gave me a big hug – still not too old for that. 🙂

  5. Bob, wonderful followup from yesterday’s conversation. You’ve added another great layer of dialogue.

    Let’s hope hugs never get old. Ever. 🙂

    PS. I find myself fairly often telling Chapin the same thing, “This is new territory for me”. It was theraputic to hear you admit using the same honesty with your son.

  6. Jeff – I tell you this. It goes a lot further with them to tell them we are trying in uncharted waters and can make mistakes than to say, “I have this ‘dad’ thing in the bag.” Because in all reality, they know better. 🙂

  7. Bob and Jeff,

    I said/say the same thing to my first a now collegiate 20+ year old. The funny thing is, I found, with three children (Blessed) it doesn’t matter how many children you have, you never really know what to do. Their experiences are all new for them and for us. That different parenting skills and tacks are required for each. Oh it makes life interesting.

    As a new mom I was taken a back with one. But learned.

    With the second, I thought I have this in the bag… but learned differently.

    And the third, I knew better. 🙂

  8. Wise words Patty, spoken from experience.

    Perhaps what makes a great parent is in sharing the journey and discovery, the pain and the joy, simultaneously with each child – involving them as a partner as life happens moment by moment, day by day.


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